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(National) Education Politics


“Assessing Betsy DeVosRollback on Disability Rightsby Pacific Standard’s David Perry.

“The 72 OSERS Documents Rescinded by Betsy deVos” – by Liz Ditz.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The White House announced Thursday that President Trump would nominate Kenneth L. Marcus, president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, as the next head of civil rights at the Department of Education.”

Via Education Week: “The Polarizing Pick to Be Betsy DeVos’ Right-Hand Man.” (That’s Mick Zais.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Candice Jackson on Campus Sex Assault: ‘We’re Not Asking Schools to Step In as Courts of Law’.”

Via The New York Times: “Melania Trump, in Michigan, Urges Middle Schoolers to ‘Choose Kindness’.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Rand Paul’s New Target: Peer Review.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Sessions’ Justice Dept. Is Wading Into Another Campus Free-Speech Case.” This one involves Pierce College.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “IRS Seeks to Tax Disabled Vet’s Forgiven Loans.”

Via The New York Times: “Consumer Bureau Loses Fight to Allow More Class-Action Suits.” Challenging forced arbitration clauses has been one way the CFPB has taken on the student loan industry.

More on the Trump administration’s approach to student loans in the student loan section below.

Via Education Week: “FCC Delays, Denials Foil Rural Schools’ Broadband Plans.”

Via Techcrunch: “FTC relaxes COPPA rule so kids can issue voice searches and commands.”

The Black Alliance for Educational Options, a charter school advocacy group, announced it will cease operations at the end of the year. (Related, I think: “The Rift Among Charter Schools” by Rachel Cohen.)

Via The Guardian: “Universities deplore ‘McCarthyism’ as MP demands list of tutors lecturing on Brexit.”

Via Reuters: “Japan’s Abe vows to put education spending before budget balance.”

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via WBEZ: “Chicago Charter Schools Hired 163 Public School Staffers Banned For Misconduct, Including Sexual Abuse.”

Via The LA Times: “L.A. schools Supt. Michelle King on medical leave through the end of the year.”

Via The LA Times: “ His three allies on the L.A. school board want Rodriguez to take a leave. He says no.”

Via KPCC: “Charter school law is murky when it comes to the Ref Rodriguez story.”

Immigration and Education


Via The Washington Post: “As DACA winds down, 20,000 educators are in limbo.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A professor at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, said she was initially denied entry to the U.S. after the academic honorarium she was to receive from a U.S. university came under scrutiny.”

Education in the Courts


Via Current: “Former Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton no longer licenses the show’s brand from the public TV station that created the program, a result of two lawsuits that concluded Friday.”

Via the Sacramento Bee: “Suicide, investigation and a lawsuit follow booze-fueled UC Davis ag school retreat.”

The Business of Student Loans


Via Buzzfeed: “A Close Ally Of Mike Pence Is Helping The Shady Student Debt Relief Industry.” (That’s Marty Obst.)

Via MarketWatch: “John Grisham’s new novel grapples with the $1.4 trillion student debt crisis.”

Via TPM: “DeVos Delays Obama-Era Student Loan Protections Amid Writing New Rules.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.S. Considers Partial Relief for Defrauded Student Borrowers.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education Wednesday released the names of 17 panelists and alternates who will be charged with overhauling an Obama administration regulation for protection of student borrowers through a process known as negotiated rule making.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via Techcrunch: “Holberton gets backing from more industry executives as it looks to scale its software engineering school.”

There is some bootcamp acquisition news in the venture capital section below.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


MOOCs. They’re back?

“Learning Creative Learning: It’s not a MOOC, it’s a community,” says the MIT Media Lab.

“A Proposal to Put the ‘M’ Back in MOOCs” – an op-ed by Class Central’s Dhawal Shah in Edsurge.

“Rethinking MOOCs” – an op-ed in Duke University’s newspaper The Chronicle.

“Reviving the MOOC” – an op-ed by Stephen Downes.

Edsurge profiles Dr. Chuck about his work on MOOCs with Coursera. (No disclosure in this or its Class Central article that it shares investors with these MOOC companies.)

This will be featured in “The Week in Predictions,” but I’ll note it here too. From the Coursera blog: “Building India’s Workforce for 2020.” (Like I’ve said previously, these corporate stories really do belong in “the business of job training” section below.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Controversy at George Washington U. Highlights Challenges of Diving Deeply Into Online Education.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Drexel Lets Controversial Professor Teach Online.” (That’s George Ciccariello-Maher.)

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via The LA Times: “White nationalist shot at protesters after Richard Spencer speech in Florida, police say.”

Via The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “ Police seeking Facebook release of Virginia Tech instructor’s activity.” The instructor is a regular poster on white supremacist websites.

The College of the Ozarks will require students take a class aimed at encouraging patriotism.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich tries to argue thatLeft-wing education cheats children.”

Via The New York Times: “High School Students Explain Why They Protest Anthems and Pledges.”

A misguided op-ed by the president of the University of Oregon: “The Misguided Student Crusade Against ‘Fascism’.”

“There is no 1st Amendment right to speak on a college campus,” says Vox.

“How Campus Racism Could Affect Black Students’ College Enrollment” by The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson.

“The Chinese University of Hong Kong put in the winning bid to purchase the campus of the now-defunct Daniel Webster College,” says Inside Higher Ed.

The Memphis College of Art will close.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “2 Are Shot and Killed on Grambling State’s Campus After Fight That Began in Dorm Room.”

Harvard’s The Crimson on discrimination against women in the school’s math department.

“‘I chose abuse, because it seemed safer.’” – “Dean Dad” Matt Reed on the #RealCollege conference on food insecurity on college campuses.

Via the BBC: “Stephen Hawking PhD readers crash Cambridge University website.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Alabama will issue manufacturing industry certifications across its two-year college system in an effort to create a better educational pipeline to jobs in manufacturing and transportation.”

Via Campus Technology: “Southern New Hampshire U to launch Competency-Based Master’s in Online Ed.”

Testing, Testing…


Via Sixth Tone: “China Announces Radical Overhaul of College Entrance Exam.”

Via The New York Times: “Asian Test-Prep Centers Offer Parents Exactly What They Want: ‘Results’.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Donor Revokes $6 Million Pledge to Louisville Athletics.”

There’s a sports-related headline better suited for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines in that section.

From the HR Department


Duke University’s Kieran Healy posts his cover letter to a rather wild job announcement from MIT Media Lab.

Via Politico: “Kevin Chavous is joining K12 Inc., the nation’s largest virtual charter school management company, as president of academics, policy, and schools. Chavous is a founding board member of the American Federation for Children, the school choice advocacy group formerly chaired by Betsy DeVos.”

Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, announced he’d be stepping down from the position in January.

The Business of Job Training


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The growing number of jobs in the computing field far outpaces how many students are earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and similar fields, according to a lengthy new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.”

Contests and Awards


Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “A virtual reality platform that allows students to simulate hands-on orthopedic surgical training won the top prize in the EdSim Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Is The NCAA Equipped To Handle Scandals?asks 1A.

Is Free Speech In A ‘State Of Emergency’?asks 1A.

Has Strunk and White Struck Out of Writing Instruction?asks Edsurge.

(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

Upgrades and Downgrades


“Top Charter Networks Turning Attention to Curriculum,” says Michael Petrilli. And in Edsurge, Amber Oliver and Michael Horn write, “Without the Right Curriculum, Personalized Learning Is Just Another Fad.” (Note: the focus on curriculum is something that the Gates Foundation says that, with its latest pivot, it plans to fund.)

More on the Gates Foundation changes [in Education Week](With Latest Education Investments, Gates Pivots Again) and in Chalkbeat and on my personal blog.

Via Mic: “On Thursday, Pearson, an education publishing company, apologized for publishing a nursing textbook section that contained racist material about treating patients from different cultural backgrounds who have acute and chronic pain.”

Via Campus Technology: “Unizin Partners with edX, Cengage.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “African Ed-Tech Incubator’s First Class of Companies Step Into Market.”

Via the AP: “Fisher-Price recalls 65,000 baby seats due to fire hazard.”

Via Techcrunch: “HelloFresh co-founder is working on a prepared meal service for kids.”

Also via Techcrunch: “Pair Eyewear, the Warby Parker for kids, launches today.”

(No. These last two stories aren’t about “ed-tech” per se. But do watch how ed-tech is consumer tech and as such expects a certain amount of parental affluence.)

Neuroeducation Will Lead to Big Breakthroughs in Learning,” says Singularity Hub.

And here’s a “big breakthrough,” featured in Edsurge: BrainCo. “This Company Wants to Gather Student Brainwave Data to Measure ‘Engagement’,” Edsurge writes. Edsurge seems skeptical that this is “a thing,” but that doesn’t stop it from taking the company’s money to advertise a job opening. Ed-tech ethics.

Speaking of ed-tech ethics, here’s a Techcrunch headline: “GitHub’s scandalized ex-CEO returns with Chatterbug.” That’s Tom Preston-Werner who resigned from GitHub after an investigation into sexual harassment claims at the company. Now he’s launching a new company – and of course it’s ed-tech. Chatterbug is a language learning startup. Wheee.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via Disruptor Daily: “AI in Education: 10 Companies to Watch in 2018.”

Via Getting Smart: “Artificial Intelligence in Education: Where It’s At, Where It’s Headed.”

“Chirons will lead us out of the AI Technopanic,” says Pearson, “and you can be a chiron.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


Via Politico: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Ford Foundation are investing $1.5 million to bolster ‘student-centered learning’ through a competitive grant program that will award up to $150,000 to 10 school districts or communities of schools.”

Via Vice: “Mark Zuckerberg has bigger plans than the White House.”

Via Techcrunch: “Zuckerberg’s CZI donates to struggling towns near Facebook.”

There's more on the Gates Foundation in the upgrades section above.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Brainly has raised $14 million in Series B funding from General Catalyst, Point Nine Capital, Runa Capital, Naspers, and Kulczyk Investments. The company, which Techcrunch calls “Quora for kids,” has raised $38.5 million total.

Again, the next two investments aren’t ed-tech per se, but as I note in the upgrades section above, it’s important to track on the ways in which kids are seen as a target market for tech companies:

Reserve has raised $12 million in Series C funding from Accel Partners, Aspect Ventures, and Mission Holdings. The company, which markets credit cards to college students, has raised $26.35 million total. (Deserve does not use FICO scores to determine “credit worthiness.” It uses “machine learning.”)

Current has raised $5 million in Series A funding from QED Capital and Cota Capital. The debit card (for teens) company has raised $8.6 million total.

Sex education startup O.School has raised $800,000 in funding from Cyan Banister, The House Fund, and XFactor Ventures.

Fuel Education, a subsidiary of K12 Inc, has acquired the literacy platform Big Universe.

WeWork has acquired the coding bootcamp Flatiron School (on the heels of the latter’s run-in with the NY Attorney General.)

Chegg has acquired Cogeon for $15 million.

Another education IPO – the second of the year. This time it’s English language learning site RISE Education Cayman.

Venture capitalist firm Reach Capital is trying to raise a new $75 million fund. Here’s a list of its investments and the people involved in the investment company (which was spun out of NewSchools Venture Fund).

The Financial Times reports that Charles Schwab was in talks to buy student loan provider SoFi.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Hackers Target Nation’s Schools,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Via The Times of India: “The education department has decided to take student attendance online in Gurgaon schools to deal with the growing menace of proxy attendance where students represent their friends when they are absent.”

The Atlantic asks “How Much Does the Government Really Need to Know About College Students in America?”

Via The Washington Post: “Education Department warns of new hacker threat as ’Dark Overlord’ claims credit for attacks on school districts.”

Via The Independent: “Professor shames entire class by publishing students’ browsing history.”

Online Trackers Help Promote Better Sleep in Indiana U Staff Study,” says Campus Technology.

Via Business Insider: “Sweep of educational apps finds some fall short on privacy.”

From Doug Levin: “A research project – in six parts – designed to shed light on select state and school district website security and privacy practices.”

Research, “Research,” and Reports


Liberia’s Experiment with Privatizing Education” – a working paper by the University of Maryland’s Steven Klees.

Seed funding slows in Silicon Valley,” says Reuters.

Via NPR: “Majority Of White Americans Say They Believe Whites Face Discrimination.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Tuition and fees increased by a few percentage points across the board, and aid failed to keep pace, annual College Board report shows.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “State-Funded Student Aid Holds Steady.”

Via NPR: “Teachers Report Stressed, Anxious Students In The ‘Age Of Trump’.”

Technology overuse may be the new digital divide,” says The Hechinger Report’s Jill Barshay.

“Higher Education, Digital Divides, and a Balkanized Internet” by Bryan Alexander.

Via Politico: “ The One Simple Way to Help Poor Kids Stay in School.” Spoiler alert: one-on-one instruction.

Via Reveal News: “Hidden figures: How Silicon Valley keeps diversity data secret.”

Via Edsurge: “How to Improve Brain Function and Reverse Poverty’s Impact on Student Learning.” Spoiler alert: it’s not by addressing poverty. Oh no. It’s with some “mindset” bullshit. (And probably some product that measures brain function too.)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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